Bringing a Pet Home for the First Time: Things to Know

Bringing a Pet Home for the First Time: Things to Know

The following contribution is from another author.

It’s essential to be wise when bringing anyone into your home. However, pets do require a unique approach. Of course, it might not be that bringing in goldfish into your home will be that complex, provided you know the kind of food they most need and how to clean their environment once or twice a week. However, it’s unlikely you’re searching the internet for advice on how to keep goldfish, so we’re going to assume that the usual placeholders of cats and dogs, everlasting home rivals and friends might interact in this new environment.

While we’re certain you’re more than capable of looking after whatever pet you choose, it can be important to keep some things in mind when making your decision. After all, if you hope to be the best pet Mom or Dad possible, a little preparation can go a long way, and help ingratiate this new family member into your household effectively.

The Breed Matters

All breeds of pet have their own quirks. A Labrador is going to have a different set of needs than a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and a Husky is going to have a wider set of needs than both of those put together. Consider what the pet has been bred for, and what kind of work you might need to do in order to honor that. For example, a Husky might be considered one of the most amazingly aesthetic breeds of dog, but if you’re not willing to exercise them a couple of hours a day, it might be best opting for a different breed.

It might seem that all cats share similar traits, so there is limited need to worry about what breed to pick up. Not so. There are some cats bred for indoor living, and some that are wild in nature and need to have free reign to explore your street. Different breeds of any pet could be more susceptible to certain diseases or illnesses, and that should be considered when considering your long-term need of medical upkeep. The breed absolutely matters, and so choosing a pet at random is highly inadvisable. Research the breed you hope to bring home specifically. If you can, talk to current owners and potentially the breeders you speak to about what is required when purchasing a pet of this type.

It might be worth going for some of the ‘safe’ pets to begin with (dogs help with your mental health). For example, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a beautiful, timid and relatively easy to maintain dog, but must be interacted with for them to feel loved. This is a great starter pet, and can teach you the finer points of pet ownership if this is your first, or if introducing your children to a household pet for the first time.

Cost Of Upkeep

Pets aren’t cheap. It’s just that some are cheaper than others. You need to reliably consider the cost of food, medical upkeep, grooming supplies and home maintenance items such as worming faculties. Of course, purchasing the animal and keeping them healthy by buying food supplements and vitamins like Perfect Poop isn’t the end of the story.  You will likely need a good bed for them, perhaps toys or a scratching post, a collar with the engraved information of your contact details, and even perhaps training lessons for young puppies. The cost of upkeep can be quite significant, so it’s important to keep all of this in mind, and draw up a rough summary of how much you can expect to pay by researching the costs of these items online.

Pet Proofing

Your household could be a very welcome home for a pet, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe. A pet-proofing guide will be required to ensure that your animal is the most safe in your abode, is fed well, and is protected. For example, letting out your puppy to play in the garden is perhaps a terrible idea if you haven’t protected fencing all around to prevent them from escaping out into the street and onto the road.

Pet-proofing should involve a mix of protecting the pet from injury in your home (the highest priority,) and also preventing your pet from damaging the home. Dogs have a tendency to chew, and cats have a tendency to scratch. Both have a tendency to ‘go bathroom’ in places you might not approve of. You might need to use neutral PH cleaning supplies when cleaning their place of rest, or even ensure that stair gates are installed to prevent an unruly puppy from falling down steep stairs. You absolutely must not bring a pet home of any sort unless you can reliably say that you have thought of every pet-proofing scenario, and the guide implemented here should help you make that claim from the start.


Interacting with your pet is essential. Learning how they communicate, how to play, when they’ve had enough and also how to discipline their actions responsibly can help you build a lifelong bond with a pet, but it might take time. Some pets, such as cats, will never truly be yours to discipline no matter how hard you try. Every animal has its own personality, and so negotiating with it while showing it who is the owner is a very tight but important balancing rope to walk. Thankfully it can be achieved if you’re willing to lay the time down to interact with them, not viewing them as a toy but as a member of the household who requires maintenance and social caring just like everyone else.

Your Schedule

Your schedule is important to consider. Will you be around? There’s nothing more tragic than a couple bringing a dog into their home because they feel it’s time, only to both work full time jobs with overtime, keeping the dog cooped up alone all day every day. Consider if your schedule warrants the proper care and love of an animal, and if not, it might be time to reschedule or reconsider your potential. Smart home gadgets like WiFi cameras can help you bridge the gap with speakerphone features when you’re away, but they’re no substitute for real contact and companionship.

With these tips, bringing a pet home for the first time is sure to be a responsible and worthwhile decision to make.


Eric is the creator of At Home in the Future and has been a passionate fan of the future since he was seven. He's a web developer by trade, and serves as the Director of Communication and Technology for a large church in Nashville, TN (where he and his family are building a high tech home in the woods).

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